Council Post: Eight Ways Companies Can Educate Customers About Cybersecurity Threats

For many companies, it’s not always clear whether or not they should be responsible for educating their customers about the dangers of cyber attacks and malware. But as cybersecurity becomes a greater threat, even non-tech companies are considering the best ways to communicate these dangers to their customers.

But what’s the most effective way to do so, given how complex an issue cybersecurity really is? To shed some more light on this topic, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their opinions on whether or not companies have a responsibility to educate consumers about cybersecurity and list some effective ways to go about doing so.

1. Leverage Conventional Content Marketing Channels

Most of the most important conversations happening between businesses and customers take place online through mobile devices. It’s wise to help make that medium as safe and easy as possible to use. You’re in the business of solving problems, and cybersecurity is a growing problem at the moment. If you help your customers solve it, communication becomes easier as the medium is safer and trust is established quicker. So reach out to them through your conventional content marketing channels with info concerning malware, antivirus software and digital hygiene. Blogs, podcasts, and videos are one way to demonstrate how to be safe online. Email newsletters can add a personal touch using stories of real people successfully navigating the net safely. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

2. Send Them An Email Newsletter

Companies should definitely educate their customers about cybersecurity and malware attacks. They can’t protect themselves properly if they don’t know what to look for or what steps to take. You can communicate the best practices for your customers by sending them an email newsletter. It’s an easy, direct way to get in touch with them and inform them about how to protect their data and stay safe. It’s also important to let customers know what they can expect from you, such as never asking for specific information online. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

3. Use A Neutral Tone With No Tech Jargon

If a cyber attack or malware attack occurred and could put customers at risk, you must communicate this to them. Honesty really is the best policy in this matter. Believe it or not, the public has become generally “used to” these sorts of notifications and would rather hear about them from you as opposed to an external source. When you contact customers, reach out in a neutral tone that clearly outlines the events and remove the high-tech lingo to ensure they understand what has occurred and if a threat is present. Within this communication, outline your course of action to reinstate protection and offer a source for additional resources. – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

4. Take Advantage Of Social Media

It’s in a company’s best interest to educate its consumers about malware and cyber attacks. That way, they know what precautions to take and can also see that your site has all of them already in place. You can post to your social media accounts about how to protect against these attacks and even lead users back to your site where they can access more information. This gives you room to expand on what you know and gives your audience more useful insight to work with. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

5. Offer Step-By-Step Instructions

Companies have the responsibility to educate consumers about malware and cyber attacks only if they are the main reason for the attacks. First of all, if the bug came from their app or website, it is important that they fix it ASAP, apologize to their consumers and then assist in all problems they may encounter. It is also a must that they would send out an email with the step-by-step process of how to fix the possible issues they would have. Second, a company should be responsible if it has phishing sites that scam and take private information from a consumer. The best way here is to have a seal of proof or a code to access the site to protect consumers from having problems. It is easy to educate, but the best way is to protect them because not everyone is a techie. – Daisy Jing, Banish

6. Give Them Reminders With Links To Your Blog

It’s definitely our duty to educate our customers about cyber attacks and malware. I personally like to remind them to change their passwords from time to time. When I do that, along with the reminder I also add a link to a detailed blog post that I create about what a cyber attack is and how it can be prevented. It’s a great way of spreading awareness and ensuring that our customers are safe from any malicious elements on the internet. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

7. Look To Larger Companies For Inspiration

Businesses have a duty to educate consumers on these issues as they relate to their individual businesses. Not every company or industry deals with the same data points. Financial institutions will obviously have a much different level of responsibility in educating their users than a restaurant, which may only have a single transaction with many of its customers. For smaller companies without the resources to create their own educational materials, look to larger companies with cybersecurity experience like Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, etc., and curate a set of best practices you can share with your customers. Curating best practices from companies more in touch with the problem of malware and cyber attacks allows you to be more up to date and informed with your own recommendations. – Jordan Conrad, Writing Explained

8. Link To A Specialized Publication

I don’t think that all companies have a responsibility to educate consumers about malware. People are generally responsible for their own actions and can educate themselves, especially when there are countless stories about hackers, malware and phishers taking down companies and individuals around the globe. If you feel compelled, I would suggest linking to a brand or publication specializing in security since they are speaking as experts in their industry. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

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